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Meet Vice President-elect Kamala Harris' 'big, blended family'

For Harris' stepchildren "stepmom" did not quite fit, that's why they affectionately call her "Momala."
Credit: AP
Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and her family watch fireworks on stage in Wilmington, Del., Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

WASHINGTON, D.C., USA — The importance of family is something Vice President-elect Kamala Harris has voiced while addressing both her supporters and the nation. 

That's why, the title of "Momala," as her stepchildren affectionately call her, ranks up there with being the first Black, South Asian and female vice president.

Harris' parents Shyamala Gopalan Harris and Donald Harris met at the University of California Berkeley and "fell in love in the most American way," according to the vice president-elect. She says it happened while the two were marching together for justice in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s.

As a child, Harris' parents split; and she and her sister Maya were raised mostly by their mother. It's this time that Harris attributes to her strong sense of family.

"She taught us to put family first—the family you’re born into and the family you choose," Harris shared in her acceptance speech at the 2020 Democratic National Convention.

"Family is my husband Doug, who I met on a blind date set up by my best friend. Family is our beautiful children, Cole and Ella, who as you just heard, call me Momala," she added, in part, while listing all those who she holds near to her heart. 

And Harris isn't the only one making history as her husband, Doug Emhoff, will be the first male spouse of a U.S. vice president.

Emhoff has been by Harris' side since the pair married in 2014. The lawyer from New York has two children from a previous marriage, Cole and Ella, and together they make a blended family.

"It reflects America," Emhoff told CBS News', Jane Pauley. "And that's what it should be. It should just be about love and unity."

And their children agree. 

"To my brother and me, you'll always be Momala, the world's greatest stepmom," Ella said in a DNC video. "You're a rock, not just for our dad, but for three generations of our big, blended family."

In a 2019 essay for Elle, Harris talks about her first time meeting Cole and Ella and shared they were the ones who sealed the deal.

"Cole and Ella could not have been more welcoming. They are brilliant, talented, funny kids who have grown to be remarkable adults. I was already hooked on Doug, but I believe it was Cole and Ella who reeled me in," she wrote.

Over the years, they set a tradition for Sunday dinners where everyone fell into a roll while making memories before Harris was swept into the spotlight as she was sworn in to the U.S. Senate.

Though through it all she says, their kids are her "endless source of love and pure joy."

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